Comcast-NBC Universal deal hinging on online video?

Comcast appears to bending over backwards in its efforts to get FCC approval of its deal to acquire NBC Universal, to the extent that it may have to agree to supply programming to online competitors like web-based cable operator ivi TV and others, and promise not to block or slow Internet traffic to subscribers.

Those proposals, reports Bloomberg, came directly from FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on Dec. 23; they can still be modified by other members of the FCC.

The proposals would bind Comcast regardless of whether the agency's new net neutrality rules are tossed out by Congress or changed in the future, and would stay in effect for seven years.

Comcast would be barred from giving Hulu or Xfinity content traffic priority over other online content, and, if Comcast opts for usage caps, they would have to be applied across all content, regardless of its origin or ownership.

"Regulators want to ensure that online video providers have fair access to NBC-Universal programming at market-based rates," Paul Gallant, a Washington-based analyst with MF Global, told Bloomberg.

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